Although we did go hands-on with part of the multiplayer suite for Modern Warfare II during our visit to Infinity Ward’s Los Angeles studio last week, the snipers trained on us right now are keeping us from editorialising our thoughts on how the game is shaping up.
That said, the team excitedly ran us through all of the new features we can expect to see in both the game’s epic single-player campaign and its multiplayer.
It’s a rather unimaginative internal code name for the initiative, but COD 2.0 is set to carry forward the new era for Call of Duty. That means unifying the engine for the many studios that pinch-hit on the franchise, that means bringing the game back to Steam for the first time in half a decade, and that means continuing to drive home the team’s commitment to anti-cheat with Ricochet coming to both Modern Warfare II and the new Warzone when they both launch this year.
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Here’s everything we found out about Modern Warfare II’s multiplayer component and the team’s aim to deliver an industry-leading experience.
Rather than piling dozens of class options onto players for Modern Warfare II, Infinity Ward has tapered things back a tad, tiering classes through three particular player behaviours that have emerged over the years.
Internal research seemed to determine that players would be aggressive, defensive, or reactionary which often ends up being a blend of the other two. With this in mind, players can now opt for varieties of load-outs carved out with these behavioural traits in mind.
Rushers take an action-centric approach and tend to rush the play, the whole concept of quick-scoping emerged from players like these. Sentinels are the perimeter players who might hang back with a ranged weapon and aim to pick off those who storm in gung ho. While Stalkers tend to not push in and read the play a bit more.
While Call of Duty has often served up a reliable yet predictable brand of multiplayer action, the team has tried to incorporate the brand of emergent play found in Warzone, leading to a more bombastic and unpredictable experience. Their aim is for this game’s multiplayer suite to feel like a real extension of the experience found in Warzone.
To achieve this, the team has introduced new means of player movement, a completely overhauled vehicular combat system, and obviously new equipment and killstreaks that help lead to a greater variety of 1v1 outcomes.
All of these big, unexpected moments look like a new direction for Call of Duty and it looks to me that this team is trying hard to put Battlefield to the sword after another misfire.
ON THE MOVE
A couple of the new ways that players are able to get around the map include diving, which serves as an alternative to sliding. It’s sure to come in handy when it’s getting far too hot in the kitchen.
Ledge hanging delivers exactly what it sounds like, the ability to hang off of a ledge and peek out for cheap shots with your pistol. The team also confirmed you’re now able to mantle and ledge hang out of a parachute cut, which is bound to lead to some dynamic circumstances.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
One of the coolest new features we got to see in Modern Warfare II is the vehicular combat that’s set to frequent bigger team battle modes like Ground War.
I discussed it briefly in the single-player rundown, but it definitely adds another element to the Call of Duty tapestry that players will have to get used to. There’s no shortage of vehicles to drive, ride in, or fly, and the fact it’s all so destructible means these huge-scale battles are going to be explosive.
Lean out windows, car surf, blow out tires and tear the doors from their hinges, even inside of an armoured truck you’re not entirely safe.
There are a few additions to the equipment stocks that are sure to force more tactical mindsets in certain Modern Warfare II modes. There’s a tactical camera that acts like a pinging surveillance system, alerting you to player movement when they’re picked up by its gaze.
This will obviously be handy for battening down the hatches at the end of Warzone, but if you’re aiming to flush someone out of their hole, you might want to opt for the drill charge. This tool simply bores a hole into a wall and lobs a grenade inside with the intention of flushing the enemy out.
A useful tool for disabling opposition equipment or vehicles is the DDOS, which almost acts like an EMP charge and overloads whatever it’s targeting temporarily for a short-term bailout.
WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE DECOY GUY
One of the funniest applications of real-world military technology that shows up in Modern Warfare II has got to be the inflatable decoy guy.
With a dash of comedy, a deployed decoy will instantly inflate in place and serve to misdirect the opposition. Rooted in history where armies would knock up surprisingly believable inflatable tanks to intimidate opposing forces, it’s hard not to love this Kevlar-clad guy.
All that’s missing is the ‘boing’ sound effect as he rigidly explodes to life, but the fact he’s poseable—dependent on where he’s deployed—has got to be his greatest strength.
YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH
As I’ve noted elsewhere already, Call of Duty: Warzone is expected to join Call of Duty: Mobile and offer its exciting brand of huge-scale action on the small screen.
While we’re assuming it’ll arrive on iOS and Android, we’ll await official confirmation before we go into platforms and features.
“STEAL THE BACON”
One of the new exciting modes Infinity Ward touched on during the briefing was Knockout, which they described as core multiplayer meets Gunfight—in the sense that the rounds are super quick.
The aim of the game is to secure the package and be the last team holding it when the timer expires. The other way to win is to simply eliminate the opposing team, but the mode has revives turned on which can lead to a lot of unexpected momentum swings.
Perhaps the most Rainbow Six mode of all is Prisoner Rescue, which will come as no surprise if you’ve played Siege’s Hostage Extraction mode. The goal is to infiltrate, secure the prisoner and escort them to a safe spot on the map before you’re cut down by the enemy team.
Not dissimilar to Knockout, rounds can be won by simply eliminating the opposing team, but revives, again, are active so I expect people might bypass the objective to opt for some good old-fashioned close-quarters warfare.